Publish date 02-07-2023

by Fabrizio Floris

Reality (facts) follow one another like habits that make everything always the same and safe: alarm clock, school/work, bus, gym... Then there is reality: an event that opens a window, lets in fresh air that awakens you. There are projects/people that sometimes take you into reality such as the Teenlab of Pinerolo, a laboratory for teenagers, which has the shape of a fablab (a place where you can find and use laser cutting machines , 3D printers, milling machines, pantographs, Arduino kits…), but the substance is a pedagogy of doing, based on welcoming and listening: remember Bruno Munari? «If I listen I forget, if I see I remember, if I do I understand".

Young people who have dropped out of school and do not work move here. They come from difficult situations: conflictual parental separations, mental illness, bullying suffered or acted out, substance use, repeated failures and then cuts on the arms because the smallest pain chases away the greatest one: «I learned this in Sardinia when the fire is too big, the only way to stop it is more fire», explains Paolo. They are affected by invisible wounds that lie deep within society and families, in trauma and loneliness. They experience the short circuit of those who are abandoned, abandon themselves.
Facts that have remote origins that already seem to trace a destiny for which at 16 there is nothing left to do, as if the life of a young person were a terminal illness.

A cross-section of situations similar to that of a degraded suburb, but this is the effect of one of the merits of the project: having been able to intercept a large number of young people belonging not only to the municipality of Pinerolo , but of a vast area of municipalities that reach up to the city of Turin. A harsh reality that presses and macerates you, but over which a project, a group of educators / trainers who take you into tomorrow, a real tomorrow where you can go back to school, work. The Teenlab is a daily exercise in irreplaceability: no one can do it, no one can do it for you, explain the Carabattola educators: «We help the kids practice being irreplaceable».
"Being born is not enough. It is to be reborn that we were born. Every day» wrote Pablo Neruda. Also in Pinerolo.

Fabrizio Floris
NP April 2023

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